Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chilly in Philly

Above: Some of the 426 players get ready for the 1st session of the Mixed Pairs Plate.

In Philadelphia, the weather outside was chilly, but the bridge was quite hot inside the Downtown Marriott where the World Bridge Series Championship is being held.

I just returned from playing. Kate and I played three days in the Mixed Pairs. There were three sessions of qualifying and 156 pairs made it into the final -- unfortunately, we weren't one of them. We hovered around average and never seemed to get things rolling. We were in good company as many world champions also didn't make the cut.

Some of the non-qualifiers chose not to play in the Mixed Pairs Plate (the closed consolation). I understand that they would be disappointed, but I can't really imagine not playing. I believe 213 pairs finished the Plate and we were 28th with a composite score of 54.43%. This was not as good as we hoped, but not disgraceful. For comparison, Jeff Meckstroth and his fiance Sally Chapleau were 16th with 55.72%.

Players came to play from all over. I'm not sure how many countries were represented, but more than 50. We even played against a pair from Cuba -- I'm glad to say that bridge can transcend petty politics.

You can see from the photo above, that we played behind screens. We also entered scores on a BridgeMate, an electronic scoring device that sends the results to the directors after each round. The second session, I was taking care of the tray that is used to send the boards back and forth, as well as doing the BridgeMate and keeping a private score. My partner, Kate, ordered me to let her keep a private score and let her handle the boards and tray. Well, ok, she didn't order me, but she was perceptive enough to see that it's easy to become distracted, so she volunteered to do some of the "work."

Here's a deal that was written up in the Daily Bulletin. The opponents against Jeff Meckstroth were in 1NT. He led a low spade from K Q 8 x x. His partner won the ace and returned the suit. He won the Q, cashed the K, and his partner played the 2, encouraging. The dummy had started with 9 x x x and declarer J 10 doubleton.

Meckstroth didn't lead another spade to set up his 5th card in that suit. The dummy had K x x and Meckstroth had Q x x, so he shifted to the queen and was rewarded when his partner had the A J 10 left and they held the contract to one (yes, the 2 was the setting trick, but he won't find the shift without that play). Holding it to one was a huge score. I'm mentioning it because Kate and I found the same defense, card for card. That's the fun of playing in a tournament like this -- you get to try and match wits against the world's best.

I'll have some more deals, tidbits, thoughts and reflections tomorrow (or Thursday) when I've had a chance to catch my breath. In the meantime, you can find results, Daily Bulletins and a lot more if you go here.

Above: A Tournament Director works on his computer. Behind him are large flat-panels that give the standings in the Mixed Pairs Plate.

Photos by MOJO and taken with my P&S.


  1. I don't understand much of that, Of Course, but I can see that it was a big deal, you did ok, and had a good time.

    Just for fun, would you say you are better at bridge or poker, in an absolute sense. I know you are very, very good at hold'em tournaments (and at guessing cork counts.)

  2. Sounds like you had fun Mojo. Haven't played tourney bridge in a long time but I do remember how exhausted I was after playing bridge all day. Thanks for the write up and pictures. Looks like tournament play sure has changed over the past 20+ years.

  3. Sounds like an exciting tourney. Next time you'll cash!

  4. Looked like fun. Novice here. What where the screens for?

  5. @Crash: Better at bridge by a lot.

    @Neophyte: Thx for your comment

    @Josie: Was fun, glad I went. Thx for your comment.

    @MorningThunder: Bridge is a partership game. They have the screens so you can't see your partner. If he makes a frown because he doesn't like your play, you're not supposed to be able to see that, so (to avoid arguments) they do it this way.

  6. Nice job, sounds like you had fun. Can anyone play in these world events, or did you have to qualify in some way beforehand?